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Collective applause from the Spanish population on Saturday night to health workers for their help in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. The noisy scenes of gratitude were seen across the country, after messages suggesting the initiative spread over messaging services such as WhatsApp

Mari Luz Peinado 15/03/2020

Health workers in Seville come to the window of the Virgen del Rocío hospital to hear the applause of the public on Saturday night.EDUARDO BRIONES / EUROPA PRESS (EUROPA PRESS)

The message started to circulate on Friday evening, and was being sent from WhatsApp group to WhatsApp group. While the Spanish authorities and citizens were pointing out that the most responsible thing to do during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak was to stay at home, cellphones and message groups were replacing face-to-face contact. One of those chain messages was encouraging people to do something other than just stay put: it called on everyone to come to their windows and applaud the health staff in Spain who are working tirelessly in a bid to combat the outbreak. As Saturday progressed, the message was altered to include personnel working in overwhelmed supermarkets, the transport system, social services and other staff who are working despite the restrictions on movement.

?VÍDEO | Centro de Madrid, 22:00h y toda la calle rompe a aplaudir desde sus ventanas en señal de apoyo y agradecimiento a las miles de personas que en toda España están luchando contra el #CoronavirusESP 

G R A C I A S ? pic.twitter.com/GCDTj79cwm— Cadena SER (@La_SER) March 14, 2020

The call to action had its effect in many areas of Spain. Minutes before 10pm, the time the original messages had set, people could be heard applauding from their homes, in scenes that were reminiscent of those that have been seen over the last week from Italy, which is also on lockdown due to the coronavirus.

Aplausos al servicio sanitario desde los balcones de Valencia!pic.twitter.com/tdOGUMcx5d— Antonio V. (@sr_villarreal) March 14, 2020

The applause was accompanied in some areas by caceroladas, which is when people bang pots and pans, and also cheers of support for the survival of Spain’s public health system, given the plans by certain political parties to partly or fully privatize the system.

Aplausos al servicio sanitario desde los balcones de Valencia!pic.twitter.com/tdOGUMcx5d— Antonio V. (@sr_villarreal) March 14, 2020

The collective applause was a symbolic act, but it join other initiatives and proposals that are being suggested by the Spanish public during the lockdown period. From people offering to take supplies to neighbors, to professionals who will provide psychological support over the phone.

Aplauso para los sanitarios que nos cuidan. ??pic.twitter.com/O32FGcOLSE— MCarmen González (@16MCGlez) March 14, 2020

Social media is playing an important part during this exceptional period, with the hashtags #YoMeQuedoEnCasa (I’m staying home) and #QuédateEnTuCasa (Stay in your home) trending on sites such as Twitter. They are also being used by local residents to organize initiatives.

English version by Simon Hunter.

https://english.elpais.com/verne/2020-03-15/spaniards-take-to-balconies-to-applaud-the-professionals-working-to-combat-coronavirus.html


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